Osama's son, woman used as human shield killed too

Osama's son, woman used as human shield killed too
Abbottabad:  US officials have said a son of Osama bin Laden, three other adult males and a woman used as a human shield by a male combatant were also killed in the helicopter raids by US forces that killed the world's most wanted terrorist on Monday.

The officials did not name the son of Osama that they had identified as killed. They said two other women were injured.  

A Pakistani official said other unidentified males were taken by helicopter away from the scene, while four children and two woman were arrested and left in an ambulance.

Early on Monday, four US helicopters swooped in and killed Osama bin Laden in a fiery raid on his fortress-like compound in this Pakistani town that is home to three army regiments.

A witness and a Pakistani official said bin Laden's guards opened fire from the roof of the compound in the small northwestern town of Abbottabad, and one of the choppers crashed. However U.S. officials said no Americans were hurt in the operation. The sound of at least two explosions rocked Abbottabad as the fighting raged.

Osama's location raised pointed questions on whether Pakistani authorities knew the whereabouts of the world's most wanted man.

The Al Qaida chief was living in a house in the town of Abbottabad that a U.S. official said was "custom built to hide someone of significance." Abbottabad is around 60 miles from the capital Islamabad, far from the remote mountain caves along the Pakistan-Afghanistan tribal border where most intelligence assessments had put bin Laden in recent years.

The house was close to the Kakul Military Academy, an army run institution where top officers train and one of several military institutions in the town.

An American administration official said the compound was built in 2005 at the end of a narrow dirt road with "extraordinary" security measures. He said it had 12 to 18-feet walls topped with barbed wire with two security gates and no telephone or Internet service connected to it.

A Pakistan intelligence official said the property where bin Laden was staying was 3,000 square feet.

It was not known how long bin Laden had been in Abbottabad, which is less than half-a-days drive from the border region with Afghanistan.

Locals said large Landcruisers and other expensive cars were seen driving into the compound, which is in a regular middle-class neighborhood of dirt covered, litter-strewn roads and small shops. Cabbage and other vegetables are planted in empty plots in the neighborhood.

Salman Riaz, a film actor, said that five months ago he and a crew tried to do some filming next to the house, but were told to stop by two men who came out.

"They told me that this is haram (forbidden in Islam)," he said.

Abbottabad resident Mohammad Haroon Rasheed said the raid happened about 1:15 a.m. local time.

"I heard a thundering sound, followed by heavy firing. Then firing suddenly stopped. Then more thundering, then a big blast," he said. "In the morning when we went out to see what happened, some helicopter wreckage was lying in an open field."

Qasim Khan, 18, who lives in a house just across the compound, said he saw two Pakistani men going in and coming out of the house often in the past several years. One of
them was relatively a fat man with a beard, he said.

"I never saw anybody else with the two men but, some kids sometime would accompany them. I never saw any foreigner."

Relations between Pakistan's main intelligence agency and the CIA had been very strained in recent months. A Pakistani official has said that joint operations had been stopped as a result, and that the agency was demanding the Americans cut down on drone strikes in the border area.

In late January, a senior Indonesian al-Qaida operative, Umar Patek, was arrested at another location in Abbottabad.

News of his arrest only broke in late March. A Pakistani intelligence official said its officers were led to the house where Patek was staying after they arrested an al-Qaida facilitator, Tahir Shahzad, who worked at the post office there.
Story First Published: May 02, 2011 15:47 IST

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